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Capo Vaticano in der Region Kalabrien, Bild: Anna Nahabed / shutterstock

Calabria – great beaches and crystal clear Mediterranean Sea

If you really think of Italy as the proverbial boot on the map, the Calabria region is the tip of the boot. It is the southernmost part of the country and has its own culture and way of life, which is particularly different from that of the people in the north of the country. Located right on the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Calabria not only has an eventful history and impressive nature, but also just the right mix of great beaches and impressive sights that holidaymakers from all over the world want. If you want to understand Italy, you have to discover Calabria on your own.

Calabria – little-known beauty of Italy

San Nicola Arcella, Calabria
San Nicola Arcella, Image: mRGB / shutterstock

Anyone preparing for a holiday in Italy typically has destinations such as Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Tuscany or Lombardy in mind. Sicily and Sardinia have also become increasingly popular with many holidaymakers in recent years. The Calabria region is known only to very few holidaymakers, but with its beauty it has long since won a place of honour among lovers of the country in southern Europe.

Calabria has always been a contested spot on the Italian mainland. This is where the Moors once landed, later the Greeks came for a short time and it has always been an important part of history in the battles of the individual Italian states. The various fortresses and settlements in the hinterland still bear witness to this today. There are many good reasons why not only the conquerors, but also tourists today take a look at Calabria. Beautiful orange groves, entire forests of olive trees and sometimes completely untouched beaches are just a few examples of the nature that can be found in this region of the country.

Above all, however, Calabria is living Italian culture. It is above all the many traces of Normans, Moors, Greeks and Italians that have shaped a unique culture and perhaps one of the first melting pots in Europe .

Calabria and its nature – what do you have to be prepared for?

Vibo Valentia in Calabria
Vibo Valentia, Image: logaen / shutterstock

Unlike Tuscany , Calabria is a challenge to travel. Not all roads here are as developed as one would like and the general public infrastructure is rather negligible outside the larger towns. This is also a great way to explore this special part of Italy on your own. With the rental car you can go through the mountains or simply along the highways that run along the almost 700 kilometers of coastline and thus ensure that vacationers always have the feeling that the sea is at most a stone’s throw away.

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But Calabria is not only the sea, but of course also the mountains. The Calabrian Arc and other small and large mountains in the region ensure that hikers also have many beautiful places to visit here. Particularly impressive are the many small villages in the hilly regions, which have not changed significantly for hundreds of years and have retained the charm of their former founders.

The highlight of Calabria, however, are of course the beaches. Located between two seas, the possibilities for a trip to the coast are almost permanent. There are some beaches in the larger towns on the coast but just as many small bays and areas that are only visited by the locals. A trip to the beach is actually part of every day in Calabria, because here you can still enjoy the sea without a tourist castle nearby.

The sights – which places should you have seen?

Tropea in Calabria
Tropea in Calabria, Image: leoks / shutterstock

There are many small and large villages hidden all over the region. After all, it was fought over for many centuries and many peoples have left their mark here. Hidden castles can still be found somewhere in the mountain ranges that once oversaw a supply route. Examples of the beautiful places on the coast are, for example, Isola Capo Rizzuto, Diamante or Capo Vaticano. In Isola, for example, there is the district of La Castella. An old Moorish castle that was later used again and again by the conquerors. It is built in the middle of the sea and allows not only one visit. Lying here on the beach at sunset with the castle as an eye-catcher is a real experience.

Discover and experience the culture of Calabria

A mixture of different influences can be seen both in the cuisine and in the general culture of Calabria, which is a little different from typical Italy. But that refers more to the menus than to the possibilities. Here, too, there are of course small and large restaurants on the coasts and offer fresh seafood everything you can dream of from a holiday by the sea. If you take a little time and overcome the somewhat brusque nature of the Calabians, you will notice what an interesting people live here.

Information for your holiday in Calabria

Important telephone numbers

  • Police: 112
  • Fire brigade: 115
  • Ambulance service: 118
  • General emergency: 112
  • German Embassy in Rome: +39 06 49213 1
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Supermarkets

  • Conad: Various locations in Calabria, e.g. in Catanzaro, Reggio Calabria and Cosenza.
  • Carrefour: Supermarkets in larger cities such as Reggio Calabria and Cosenza.
  • Coop: Branches in many cities, e.g. in Crotone and Catanzaro.
  • Eurospin: Branches in cities such as Reggio Calabria, Lamezia Terme and Catanzaro.
  • Lidl: Supermarkets in cities such as Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia and Cosenza.

Doctors in the most important places

  • Reggio Calabria:
    • Dr. Giuseppe Caridi: Ospedale Riuniti, Viale Europa, +39 0965 397111
    • Dr. Maria Rosa Versace: Studio Medico, Via Gebbione, 10, +39 0965 634010
  • Catanzaro:
    • Dr. Giovanni Tallarico: Ospedale Pugliese-Ciaccio, Viale Pio X, +39 0961 883111
    • Dr. Maria De Stefano: Centro Medico, Via Acri, 16, +39 0961 721038
  • Cosenza:
    • Dr. Francesco Russo: Ospedale Annunziata, Via Felice Migliori, +39 0984 6811
    • Dr. Anna Giordano: Studio Medico, Via Roma, 25, +39 0984 32223

Important words with translation

  • Hello – Ciao
  • Thank you – Grazie
  • Please – Per favore
  • Yes – Sì
  • Nein – No
  • Sorry – Scusa
  • Where is…? – Dov’è…?
  • How much does it cost…? – Quanto costa…?
  • Emergency – Emergenza
  • Doctor – Medico
  • Hospital – Ospedale

Holidays

  • New Year’s Day: January 1
  • Epiphany: January 6
  • Easter Monday: variable (March/April)
  • Labour Day: 1 May
  • National Holiday: June 2
  • Assumption Day: 15 August
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • Immaculate Conception: December 8
  • Christmas: December 25
  • St. Stephen’s Day: December 26

Opening hours

  • Shops: Usually Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Many shops close at noon for a siesta.
  • Supermarkets: Usually daily from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., some also on Sundays.
  • Restaurants: Lunch from 12:30 to 14:30, dinner from 19:30 to 22:00.
  • Banks: Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Airport

  • Lamezia Terme International Airport (SUF): Calabria’s main airport, about 10 km from Lamezia Terme.
  • Reggio Calabria Airport (REG): Second largest airport, close to the city of Reggio Calabria.

NUDISM

  • Not common: There are no official nudist beaches in Calabria. Nudism is not practiced and could be considered offensive.

Post / Stamps

  • Post offices: In all major cities and towns. Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Stamps: Available in post offices and tobacconists (tabacchi).
  • Costs for letters and postcards to Germany: Standard letter up to 20g: approx. 1.15 EUR; Postcard: approx. 1.15 EUR

Safety

  • Crime: Calabria is considered relatively safe. Observe usual precautions as in any city, especially in tourist areas.
  • Emergency number: 112

Current

  • Voltage: 230 volts
  • Sockets: Type F and L (Type F as in Germany)

Tip

  • Restaurants: 5-10% of the invoice amount
  • Taxis: Round up the amount
  • Hotels: 1-2 euros per day for cleaning staff

Customs

  • Allowances within the EU: No customs restrictions on personal belongings.
  • Alcohol: Maximum 10 liters of spirits, 20 liters of alcoholic beverages with less than 22%, 90 liters of wine, 110 liters of beer.
  • Tobacco: 800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars, 1 kg of tobacco.